Did the original BLADE RUNNER warrant Sequel?
BLADE RUNNER was a box-office flop when it was original released, making about $33.62 million throughout its several theatrical releases at a budget of $28 million. While the film was regarded as special and unique for the time, especially in the post-Star Wars era, it took time for BLADE RUNNER to transform into the film it is today: one of the greatest sci-fi films of all time.
BLADE RUNNER 2049 so perilous in the first place...but I do believe that this followup film proves that the effort was not in vain and that the story of BLADE RUNNER could be organically built upon.
I was nervous when the BLADE RUNNER sequel became reality...what if it sucked? What if it was another Scarlett? Fortunately for all of us BR fans, that did not happen. The short of it is that BLADE RUNNER 2049 is a sequel done properly with great respect paid to the 1982 original and careful consideration paid to the path the new 2017 film blazes with expanding the world of BR. It also does not alienate the fans of the original film by being a serious departure from the original. BLADE RUNNER 2049 still asks the hard questions of slavery, quality of life, and what makes someone really human while examining these question through the lens of a gumshoe police assassin on the path of runaway technology in a flying car cutting throughout the dense asian-infused urban jungle of a broken, sick world.
BLADE RUNNER visuals. Populating this world of 20419 is an awesome assembly of actors and actress that bring flesh to the dystopia. While Harrison Ford does resume his role as Rick Deckard, it is new Blade Runner, K played by Ryan Gosling that is the heart of the film.
While I've not seen much he's been in, Ryan shines here, turning a great layered performance that is the best when acting opposite the talented and lovely Ana de Armas playing K's "girlfriend" Joi. It is that emotion center that brings heart to the messy, dirty world of BLADE RUNNER. Three other performances I thought were spot on where MacKenzie Davis, (who plays in one of my favorite current TV shows, Halt and Catch Fire), the always good Jared Leto, and newcomer Sylvia Hoeks round out the new evil faces of the new megacorporation. The one performance I was surprised at was Robin Wright as Lt. Joshi appearing in the film and how strong she was in it. The best praise I can add on to BLADE RUNNER 2049 is that it left me emotional how I felt after seeing the first film back in 1990. It echoed the memories of sadness, depression, fascination, and wonder; perfectly replicating them. As the final credits rolled, I was in awe and emotional spent. I love this movie.
For the most part, BLADE RUNNER 2049 is a masterwork that marries up to the original 1982 film in all of its good and bad ways. When I saw BLADE RUNNER for the first time in 1990, it left me confused, sad, shellshocked, and fascinated. I wanted more. So, I watched it over and over...to the tune of over 100 times. But, while this emotional journey is great for us fans of the original, it will not create fans that where not interested in the first one or experiencing those emotions. This is not Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2.
Many people have told me that BLADE RUNNER is "depressing" or "overrated", and there is nothing in BLADE RUNNER 2049 that will alter that for them. Due to this, it likely that this film will not be the box office success that the first one could not be either. BLADE RUNNER is not Star Trek, Star Wars, and we fans would not want it to be. Added to this, BLADE RUNNER 2049 does not stray from the pack of other works in the BLADE RUNNER universe. It is more of the same as we saw in the sequel books, the 1996 PC game: a Rep-Detec hunting down his prey in the mean, neon-washed streets of Los Angeles. While we do see more of Earth in 2049 and this is welcomed, the basic structure remains the same because it has to. I do not think the majority of BLADE RUNNER fans would like a sequel to divert from this pattern and setting. It simply is what BLADE RUNNER is.
BLADE RUNNER 2049. If you have not seen the original film and the shorts, that explain the thirty year gap between 2019 and 2049, than you will be lost and portions of the 2017 film are not going to make any sense. This makes BLADE RUNNER 2049 a less accessible film to moviegoers than other sequels and this is likely why its financial performance as been lacking. This was a film for the fans by the fans for better or worse.
Should You See BLADE RUNNER 2049?
If you are a fan of the science fiction cinema, BLADE RUNNER, or even Ghost in the Shell; than go see this film on the big screen, preferably in IMAX. This is a properly done sequel to the 1982 classic that adds onto the mythos of the world of BLADE RUNNER. It is all that we fans could have hoped for and more than we could have dreamed. It is that good and deserves our money, time, and attention.
Will BLADE RUNNER 2049 Hold Up to the Original?
BLADE RUNNER has been praised as the Citizen Kane of sci-fi movies and revolutionizing sci-fi design along with cinematography. But, will the 2017 sequel be held to the same regard? After seeing it and the incredible job it did to expand on the original material, I think it would be picked over, studied, marveled at, and establish a cult following. I am in more awe of this 2017 film and its accomplishments than the 1982. BLADE RUNNER 2049 comes in the shadow of the original film and other works that heavily borrow from it, including the recent Ghost in the Shell and even the struggle of Mr. Data on ST:TNG. This means that the 2017 film had more to proven and even hard work to set it apart from the world that BLADE RUNNER created. That is worth celebrating.